Air freight volumes are steadily increasing at Dusseldorf Airport. Even in February, a normally flat month, the tonnage grew 5.5 percent year-on-year according to latest
Dusseldorf Airport Cargo’s Marketing and Sales Manager Thomas Schuermann is a forward thinking executive who likes straight talk, but sometimes tends towards understatements. “The prospect for our cargo business in 2014 looks quite promising,” he soberly notes. More than promising, one might add by looking at the figures from beginning of January till 30 April, which display a 14.6 percent leap in freight transport volumes. A nearly perfect start to the year as the figures for the first four months clearly demonstrate. In that period 33,000 tons were loaded or unloaded at Dusseldorf airport, 55 percent of them being exports and 45 percent imports. Normally the ratio is about 50 / 50, Thomas illustrates, but lately the number of goods sent out outgrew the incoming cargo. Two main reasons fostered the upswing: Firstly it’s that the economy in Germany is burgeoning. Secondly, Dusseldorf’s air traffic went up due to new airlines like Japanese carrier ANA or American Airlines that started serving the airport. Others decided with the beginning of this year’s summer schedule to offer the market more frequencies.
However, Thomas emphasizes a third aspect: “The biggest advantage of Dusseldorf Airport in terms of cargo is the catchment area around the airport. More than 18 million inhabitants in a radius of 100 kilometers represent a huge import market for food, perishables, consumables and electronics. At the same time this region is producing approximately 20% of all German exports, of which a major share is traditional airfreight business such as, machinery, components, spare-parts and automotive supplies.”
Most goods are traveling on routes to/from the U.S. and the Middle East. Particularly via Dubai or Abu Dhabi there are plenty of transit options for beyond transports destined to the Asia/Pacific region.
“Although currently there is no regular freighter traffic at Dusseldorf Airport, cargo development is looking definitely positive,” comments Gerton Hulsman, Managing Director of Dusseldorf Airport Cargo. “This is because all cargo volumes handled by Dusseldorf Airport Cargo are flown in the lower decks of passenger aircraft, or trucked to other major gateways such as Frankfurt or Amsterdam.”
Gerton goes on to say that the development at DUS is in line with the general industry trend that sees an increasing number of cargo shifting from main deck to lower deck, thanks to the latest aircraft models offering additional capacity for cargo on-loads.
At Dusseldorf Airport, “we have an attractive mix of wide-body aircraft with attractive cargo capacity, serving markets directly or serving huge hubs and a big variety of smaller carriers serving niche markets directly. This makes DUS an ideal location for air cargo,” states Manager Hulsman. How attractive the location has become for cargo activities is demonstrated by more than 150 forwarders that have decided to be located in the Dusseldorf area. They represent a well-balanced combination of multinationals, small and medium sized forwarding companies.